The Kosovo Precedent

In his comments on Kosovo's declaration of independence, Barack Obama said: "Kosovo's independence is a unique situation resulting from the irreparable rupture Slobodan Milosevic's actions caused; it is in no way a precedent for anyone else in the region or around the world." In response came a sneering and ignorant New York Sun editorial:

Among the lessons we've gained from a life of foreign corresponding are that wars have consequences —and that history has its ironies. As Kosovars danced in the streets in joy and kissed the nearest Americans and the United Nations wrung its hands, the son of the president who delivered the Chicken Kiev speech embraced change in the Balkans. And the echoes of the words of the 41st president against independence for the so-called Soviet so-called Socialist so-called Republics are coming from a Democratic presidential candidate aquiver at the prospect that some other downtrodden countries might take hope from Kosovo's example and seek to follow suit.

As Jonathan Kulick points out the "no precedent" line is the standard declarative policy of the United States and its purpose is to protect America's ally, Georgia, from the threat of Russian-backed secessionist groups in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Is it really the Sun's view that the embrace of freedom requires responsible presidential candidates to sign on for Vladimir Putin's geopolitical schemes? I assume not; most likely they were just going for a cheap hit and couldn't be bothered to check what was going on. Meanwhile do Palestinians count among the world's "downtrodden countries"?